June 3, 1917
Received by James E. Padgett
I am here, John.
I come to write a few lines on the display of what was supposed to be portraits of the Master and which you saw tonight. Well, the exhibits were quite interesting and showed the different and diverse conceptions of the artists during the centuries of what the Master looked like, but I must say that none of them is a correct likeness of him as he appeared on earth or as he appeared after his rising from the dead and made himself visible to his disciples and others.
I understand how the preacher and many others who were present at the church tonight love Jesus and enjoy the belief that, in looking at some of the portraits, they may get a conception of his appearance, and I only wish that his appearance might have been shown by some of the pictures, but as I said, none of them bore any resemblance to the Master whom I knew and associated with and saw after his resurrection from the tomb. None of them displayed the great spiritual light that shone from his countenance - even when he was suffering on the cross - and none of them gave a faint glimpse even of the spiritual beauty that was his when he associated with and helped sinners as well as his friends and disciples.
I never heard of any portrait having been painted of him while he lived on earth or afterwards by anyone who had seen him, and the oldest of these portraits that were presented tonight was not made until years after his death, and by men who could not have gotten a description of the Master from anyone who had seen him. I know that there was no original as the preacher supposed that must have given a suggestion to the artists who painted the ones that you saw, for there was never any original. No, the Master passed from earth without leaving behind him any representation of his appearance.
The portraits were the results of what the artists conceived in their artistic brains, if I may use the expression, of what the Master, who had displayed such wonderful qualities of heart and mind should look like, and as their conceptions of the spiritual and human qualities of the Master differed, so their portraits differed, and the only foundation for their pictures were their own spiritual or non-spiritual conceptions.
The Master, of course, like the rest of us who were his disciples, was a Jew, and it is quite natural to suppose that he had the features and hair and beard of the ordinary Jew; and as the Jews have continued to live ever since the time of the Master without much change in appearance or otherwise - I mean in his native land - the artists, who conceived him to be a Jew, based their supposed portrait of him upon the appearance of the Jew as they saw him at the time that they painted the pictures.
And while Jesus was a Jew, he was not what may be called a typical Jew in appearance any more than in other qualities, for he had in him that condition of soul that to a large extent determined and fashioned his appearance. His eyes were not dark or brown but a violet blue, and his hair was light and inclined to the auburn; his nose was prominent and somewhat long, and his beard was of the color of his hair, and worn not so long as was the custom of those days, and he never had a razor on his face. His forehead was not so very high or broad, but was well shaped and somewhat effeminate and indicated that there was not so great mental development as might be supposed, for I must say here that his knowledge was not so much the knowledge of the brain as of the heart and soul.
And as you know, and as all men may know who acquire the proper soul development, the soul has a brain (mind) of its own which is used for the disclosure of the knowledge of that which pertains to the spiritual truths. Mortals may not quite comprehend the meaning of this assertion, but I must tell them that in certain circumstances and conditions the brain or, to be more exact, the mind of the natural man becomes entirely absorbed in the mind of the soul.
So that, I say, it is not a correct conclusion to suppose that Jesus, because of having all the wonderful knowledge of the truths of God - his Father as he preferred to call God - must have had a large development of those portions of the brain that is ordinarily displayed by a large or prominent forehead. His head, in fact, was not very large, but compact and beautifully shaped. He wore his hair parted in the middle and reaching to his shoulders, and it was somewhat curly - a beautiful head of hair which seemed to be full of life.
No artist has had a correct conception of his appearance and no portrait or sculpture conveys a near likeness of him. But as the people realize how beautiful he was within, they can possibly in their own imaginations see a clearer conception of his appearance than any painted portrait gives to them.
I sometimes wish that there was on earth a true likeness of him, as he appeared during the time of his great work of love on earth, so that those who love him could have the further pleasure of realizing his physical appearance; but that may not be so, because as mortals naturally worship the pictures of the saints, and through the picture, worship the originals, the danger would be that if there was a picture of the Master, mortals would worship him even more than they do now; all of which worship is very distasteful and displeasing to him, and as he has said: "Blasphemy." The Master should be loved, and his presence longed for, as such presence has in it a wonderful love and influence to help and make happy those who are in condition to realize his presence; but he should not be worshipped.
Well, as I was with you tonight at the church, I thought that it might be interesting to you to have told you the truth in reference to the Master and his supposed portraits. Of course, it is not necessary that there should be any picture of him, true or otherwise, in order to enable mortals to enjoy his presence, for he is working among mortals today as he was when on earth, and his love goes out to them, and his desire that they become in at-onement with the Father; and when mortals sincerely long for his presence, sooner or later, as the laws of his limitations permit, he will be with them and will comfort and help them, if they will enable him to make the rapport. This is what is meant by his standing at the door and knocking. When the door is opened, the rapport is made and then his love and influence will be felt.
But the difficulty here is that mortals suppose it to be and confuse it with the great Love of the Father, when the fact is that this love of Jesus is the same Love, in quality but not in quantity, that the mortal himself may obtain by the earnest prayers and sincere aspirations of his soul. The love of Jesus can never transform a human soul into the substance of the Love of the Father, because this transforming Love can come from the Father only, and is bestowed through the medium of the Holy Spirit, as we have explained to you.
So let all mortals love Jesus with the fervor and fullness of their souls and crave for his love, but in doing so not forget or fail to know that in, thus, loving in order to become like Jesus, they must seek for the greater Love of the Father and give to Him all their soul's longings and desires for the inflowing of this Love into their souls; and the more they receive of this great Divine Love, the better able they will be to love their great brother, Jesus.
Well, I have written enough for tonight. I will come soon again and write you a formal message. So remember what I said to you a few nights ago, and believe and trust, and you will not be disappointed. With my love and the blessings of the Father, I will say good night.
Your brother in Christ,